Music Curriculum Map 2021

Music is in our soul at Sedgehill Academy...

We are extremely proud of our rich and successful musical heritage, music plays a fundamental role in our commitment to supporting strong development of character and providing students with a rich and broad education. 

Sedgehill Academy students have performed at the Barbican, London Palladium and at the Cadogan Hall. Our students have also performed with Il Divo, Michael Ball, Nicola Benedetti and the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain.

We also have our very own Musician-In-Residence, Andy Gilbert, a successful artist, in his own right who coaches students in music and song writing, and mentors our incredible school choir, Vocalize, who have performed at Buckingham Palace and The Royal Albert Hall.

Read more about our school choir and the Music in Schools programme here.

Principles and Purpose of the Music Curriculum

Principles and Purpose of the Music Curriculum

The purpose of the Music curriculum is to:

  • Enable all pupils to develop their musical potential through engaging experiences, recognising that music as art is an important part of cultural identity. We also recognise that music benefits both cognitive development and character development. Performing is a crucial part of this.
  • Encourage and prepare students for lifelong musical learning and appreciation, both in and out of school, including preparation for further study if appropriate.

Learning music is a cultural entitlement for every child, and we hope that our approach will ensure that all pupils receive this and are successful in their learning.

The following principles have informed the planning of the United Learning curriculum across all subjects.

  • Entitlement: All pupils have the right to learn what is in the United Learning curriculum, and schools have a duty to ensure that all pupils are taught the whole of it.
  • Coherence: Taking the National Curriculum as its starting point, our curriculum is carefully sequenced so that powerful knowledge builds term by term and year by year. We make meaningful connections within subjects and between subjects.
  • Mastery: We ensure that foundational knowledge, skills, and concepts are secure before moving on. Pupils revisit prior learning and apply their understanding in new contexts.
  • Adaptability: The core content – the 'what' – of the curriculum is stable, but schools will bring it to life in their local context, and teachers will adapt lessons – the 'how' – to meet the needs of their own classes.
  • Representation: All pupils see themselves in our curriculum, and our curriculum takes all pupils beyond their immediate experience.
  • Education with character: Our curriculum - which includes the taught subject timetable as well as spiritual, moral, social, and cultural development, our co-curricular provision, and the ethos and ‘hidden curriculum’ of the school – is intended to spark curiosity and to nourish both the head and the heart.

Here we explore these principles in the context of the music curriculum:

  • Entitlement: Pupils should receive one hour of discrete music teaching each week at Key Stage 3. Where possible the curriculum should encompass activity from outside of the classroom and build on pupils’ learning from beyond the classroom; progress in music comes from formal, non-formal and informal musical experiences.
  • Coherence: It is more important for pupils to fully understand the key concepts presented than to cover lots of curriculum content. Progress and development are more assured as the curriculum content is sequenced. By working in this way, the dangers of a ‘shallow musical odyssey’, where pupils travel from genre to genre without making links between styles or building on their skills, are also avoided.
  • Mastery: The curriculum is based on a mastery model, in which the ambition is that all pupils are taught and achieve the essential knowledge and skills in each of the years of the curriculum so that both knowledge and skills can be re-used effectively in future learning to achieve greater depth of musical learning and outcome. Students should begin to specialise as they progress through their school curriculum, choosing an instrument to ‘master’ over time.
  • Adaptability: Musical activity in United Learning schools is likely to look different. Our distinctive schools each have a unique offer based on the individual strengths of the teaching staff, the size of the team and the space and resources available alongside other factors. It is important to develop the strengths of each school whilst also recognising the need for a locally determined curriculum that meets student needs.
  • Representation: The music curricula in our schools is unlikely to remain static for long periods of time. It needs to respond to the changing nature of the school and society. A curriculum that recognises the musical lives of children and young people, building on this prior learning and experience, will resonate with pupils.
  • Education with character: Music plays a vital role in delivering a values-led education, aiming to:
    • Give our pupils ambition: to perform to a high standard, and to support others who also aim for high standards.
    • Build confidence: to perform in both small and large settings as a member of a wider ensemble, participating in memorable occasions that contribute to the school life and community.
    • Foster creativity: to compose and improvise with skill, building on prior experiences.
    • Instill respect: for each other in performance, and the artistry of musicians from all backgrounds.
    • Drive enthusiasm: to pursue musical talents and interests through an engaging curriculum and co- curriculum.
    • Encourage determination: to persevere and strive when refining and improving performance and composition.
Teaching the Music Curriculum

Teaching the Music Curriculum

Every unit has an overview that details the objectives, teaching sequence, key vocabulary, and terminology. In every unit, key vocabulary and terminology are displayed, defined, and continually revisited. Students are routinely tested on new vocabulary and terminology in 'Memory Platforms' and end of lesson reviews. Students are required to apply new vocabulary and terminology in their responses to music, both oral and written.

Extended tasks demonstrate whether students are accurately embedding the key knowledge through the core of technical, constructive, and critical engagement. For example, through the ‘Hooks and Riffs’ performing and composing tasks in Year 7, and through a ‘head’ arrangement in Year 8.

Lessons are structured to support the I-We-You cycle, and students have regular independent practice. High quality modelled examples are an integral part of lessons, many of which are provided as videos on-screen or as narrated guides for teachers. Extended tasks are often followed by a fully developed model to exemplify the standards students should demonstrate.

Great music teaching is rooted in the language of the subject: musical sound. All learning should centre around the music itself. The subject area can draw extensively on recent understanding in cognitive science to ensure that teaching and learning is impactful. We would expect to see the application of the Rosenshine Principles through:

  • ‘Play me/show me’ used in teaching alongside ‘tell me’; so, students can demonstrate embodied musical understanding.
  • Teachers always being a musician in the room.
  • Whole class modelling is used alongside teacher and pre-prepared models.
  • The music department has a culture of practice: both in lessons and beyond the curriculum, and the teaching environment is conducive to effective practice.
  • Structured creativity, using scaffolds, models, and creative starting points.
  • The co-curricular musical experiences of pupils being evident in the classroom. More guidance on the Rosenshine Principles in Performing Arts can be found here.

So, when we walk into any music lesson, what should we expect to see?

  • Learning that results from exposure to musical sounds.
  • Opportunities for practical music-making and/or structured listening.
  • A very brief ‘Memory Platform’ which revisits fingertip knowledge from the taught curriculum.
  • Success exemplified by high-quality models which are practically explored by both the teacher and the class before independent work.
  • We do not expect to see students working in practice rooms without clear structure, roles, and accountability.

In addition, in Key Stage 4 lessons we particularly expect to see:

  • Students working to their musical strengths in both performance and composition.
  • Regular student performances and use of practice diaries, where students are accountable for their level of activity.
  • An integrated curriculum where set works and areas of study are explored through critical engagement: listening, performing, and composing.

In Sixth Form music lessons we particularly expect to see:

  • Frequent opportunities for independent responses to music; listening should be frequent and allow students to draw on a wide range of high quality and relevant stimuli in their own analysis and creative work.
  • Regular student performances and use of practice diaries where appropriate.

Our curriculum is designed to provide a challenge for all learners. Teachers are expected to adapt resources for the needs of their students. Department meeting time should be used to review schemes and lessons before teaching so that all teachers are confident with the content of units and strategies for delivery. Time is well spent on both co- planning, for lessons to be adapted as necessary for the individual needs of learners, and practising elements of lesson delivery such as practical models.

Homework in the subject at Key Stage 3 is a good opportunity to review fingertip knowledge that opens the curriculum to all pupils, such as through the review of knowledge organisers. In Key Stage 4 and Key Stage 5 we would expect students to be accountable for their level of continued independent practise as part of their homework, alongside revision of classwork and flipped learning exercises such as reading and composition

Progression in the Music Curriculum

Progression in the Music Curriculum

The United Learning curriculum reviews and builds on the Key Stage 2 primary curriculum so that lessons are suitably stretching and age appropriate. The experiences of students in primary schools are likely to vary hugely. Whilst some pupils will have benefitted from regular curriculum provision, a rich co-curricular experience and input from visiting music teachers or 1-2-1 lessons in the community, there will be a continuum of exposure to the subject. Gathering information through a school transition programme can help to build a better understanding of each cohort and identify areas of strength and development. It is also advisable to work with your local hub or music service in this process who will know more about the musical life of your feeder primary schools.

Pupils who wish to take Music at Key Stage 4 will benefit from additional musical experiences provided through enrichment and visiting music teacher programmes; their participation should be encouraged and facilitated. We have written a specific course for new Key Stage 4 students, ‘Step Up to GCSE’, which is advised to be used as part of the transition to Key Stage 4. The content of this course covers the essential theoretical knowledge that supports fluency in musical understanding.

For the few students who progress to Level 3 study, there is a range of courses available that will allow them to continue to grow as musicians. Successful Key Stage 5 students should develop their own voice, both through performance and composition; wider listening from Key Stage 4 and continued engagement of the wider musical life of the school and community is a key part of this development.

Progression to University and Careers

Just as there are a variety of courses available to students in music at Key Stage 5, the subject offers a variety of specilisms to choose from including musical performance, composition, and production. The most up to date information on courses and grade requirements can be found here.

Music Home Learning

In Music, students complete both practical and theory homework each week. Students have their own instrument that they must bring to lesson for their timetabled music lesson and take home on the same day to complete homework. Students are expected to practice between lessons, for a minimum of 20 mins, 3 times per week. Students have a theory booklet that is used to recap key terms that are needed for the understanding and embedding of knowledge. Students sit a practical and theory exam each half term. 

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